Navtej Johar’ Judgement, given by the Supreme Court of India declared Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code unconstitutional as the law criminalise homosexual acts as an “unnatural offence” which is violation of fundamental rights guaranteed by Indian Constitution.
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‘Navtej Johar’ Judgement
- Navtej Singh Johar vs Union of India case led to a landmark decision by the Supreme Court of India in 2018 that decriminalised all consensual sex among adults in private, including homosexual sex.
- The Supreme Court of India determined constitutionality of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, a colonial-era law which, among other things, criminalised homosexual acts as an “unnatural offence”.
- On 6 September 2018, the court unanimously declared the law unconstitutional “in so far as it criminalises consensual sexual conduct between adults of the same sex”.
- The court found that the criminalisation of sexual acts between consenting adults violated the right to equality guaranteed by the Constitution of India.
- The judgement also made note that LGBT community is entitled to equal citizenship and protection under law, without discrimination. The verdict was hailed as a landmark decision for LGBT rights in India.
- Portions of Section 377 relating to sex with minors, non-consensual sexual acts such as rape, and bestiality remain in force.
- A writ petition was filed by five people in the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.
- The petitioners were dancer Navtej Singh Johar, journalist Sunil Mehra, chef Ritu Dalmia, hoteliers Aman Nath and Keshav Suri, and businesswoman Ayesha Kapur.
- The petitioners argued that Section 377 is alleging that it directly violates fundamental rights.